Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources

All The Tips You Need To Clean Outside Windows

how to clean outside windows custom graphic

If the view from your windows is marred by dirt, smudges, and whatnot, a good cleaning is definitely in order!

While both sides of the glass will need some scrubbing and wiping down, most of the cleaning is probably required on the outside! This is because interior windows are typically cleaned more frequently than the exterior panes, causing them to become increasingly soiled overtime, and harder to clean.  

Unfortunately, when you allow the glass to accumulate dirt, dust, and other outdoor grime like insect/bird droppings, the task of exterior window cleaning is a much more dreaded affair! Nevertheless, it’s a job that must be done if you want to bring in as much natural light as possible, and enjoy looking through a spotless window, too!

To learn how to clean outside windows for the best possible results, take a look at this easy method shared below by MaidForYou. Additionally, we have listed some useful tips to navigate the challenges of cleaning hard-to-reach exterior windows, stubborn grime, and more. 

5-Step Method to Wash Outside Windows

For exterior windows that are out of reach, we will address the best methods to safely clean them in our ‘tips’ section later on; but first, take a look at the step-by-step instructions to clean low-leveled outside windows.

Step 1: Rinse With a Garden Hose

Unlike interior windows, you can spray your outside windows with water, and not worry about making a mess inside your house! It is the easiest and quickest way to rinse off dust and loose dirt from the glass panes, and also eliminates the need to wipe the windows with a cloth. Don’t forget to wash the window frame and surrounding area to remove built-up dirt and debris. If your garden hose has an adjustable water pressure, increase it as needed to get rid of tougher grime.

Step 2: Make a Soapy Solution

There are a couple of tried and tested cleaning solutions for outside windows, including a natural, non-toxic cleaner made with white vinegar and water. However, for an extremely soiled exterior window, liquid dish detergent is a great option. The alternative, of course, is a store-bought or commercial window cleaning product for which you will need to follow the dilution rates and instructions mentioned on the label.

If you are using dish soap, add 2-3 tablespoons of the liquid to a bucket of hot water. Bear in mind that you can decrease or increase the strength of the solution as per the level of soil you are dealing with. To clean outside windows naturally, make a 50:50 hot water and white vinegar solution, and proceed to the next step. Regardless of the product used to make the cleaner, be sure to mix it well with the water for an evenly distributed window cleaning solution.

Step 3: Clean the Outside Window

The recommended cleaning tool for scrubbing exterior windows is either a sponge, or a soft brush. As tempting as it may be to pull out an abrasive scrubber for stubborn grime, it is highly advisable to stick to soft cleaning tools to prevent scratching the glass.

Moving on to the scrubbing process, the best way to clean outside windows is by allowing the sponge or brush to soak in the hot soapy solution, and then scrubbing the window pane from top to bottom. For tall windows, a long-handled brush will help clean the top half of the glass, as well as those tricky corners. 

Be patient and thorough when scrubbing your outside windows as tough grime generally requires a little more elbow grease to remove. 

Step 4: Rinse the Glass Clean

By now, your outside windows will have a combination of soapy lather, and loosened dirt and grime covering the glass. This is when you need to rinse off all the debris and residue, starting from the top edges and corners of the window. A low water pressure is advised to ensure that the entire window is rinsed off properly, as well as to avoid leaving streaks caused by splashes of water. Be sure to rinse off the window tracks or sills as this is where the washed off debris will collect.

Step 5: Check the Glass for Streaks or Marks

Don’t be disappointed if your outside windows aren’t spotless right away; it’s hard not to miss a few spots, especially when attempting to clean heavily soiled exterior windows. If you do find some streaks or leftover window stains, simply spot clean the areas using the same cleaning tools and solution, and then rinse the glass once more.

Step 6: Dry the Surface Immediately

Allowing water to evaporate on your windows can also cause streaks, and will not provide the buffed and gleaming appearance we all love to see. For these reasons, it is important to dry your outside windows immediately after you have washed off the cleaning solution and dirt remnants. A microfibre cloth is the best option for drying freshly cleaned windows while the alternative is any soft, absorbent lint-free cloth. 

Tips to Effectively Clean Outside Windows

Although the method of cleaning outside windows shared above is a rather basic one, it typically works on all exterior windows that are heavily soiled. That said, as we mentioned earlier, there are some challenges that affect the way in which one can clean their exterior windows, including the height. Additionally, you may find that some techniques and products work more efficiently than others; therefore, the tips below must be weighed out and, based on what suits your outside windows best, you can go ahead and implement them as needed!

#1 Use Magnetic Cleaners for High Windows

For apartment building dwellers who live high off the ground, cleaning outside windows is not just difficult, but dangerous, too. This is when a magnetic window cleaning tool comes really handy! It simultaneously cleans the exterior and interior glass pane using powerful magnetism. All you need to do is apply the cleaning solution to the scrubbing pad, place the magnets on either side of the window, and manually move the inside magnet along the glass to clean both sides!

#2 Use a Rubber Squeegee For Streak-Free Results

After dusting the exterior glass with a cloth, apply a generous amount of your chosen cleaning solution to the window, place the squeegee along the top corner of the pane and pull down. Clean the edge of the blade with a paper towel before moving on to the next section, and be sure to overlap the previous one to prevent streaks.  

#3 Pre-treat Stubborn Stains

If you are dealing with an adhesive or specks of paints on your outside window, it is advisable to address them before proceeding with the window cleaning method shared earlier. While nail polish remover is great for tackling sticky stains on outside windows, you can use a razor blade to carefully scrape off dried paint on window glass. White vinegar and water is typically effective when cleaning bird poop on outside windows, however, you can also spot treat these stains with your regular, store-bought glass cleaner.

#4 Clean Outside Windows When It’s Not Sunny

Avoid cleaning your windows when there is direct sunlight falling on the glass, or when it’s too hot outside because the cleaning solution will dry on the surface too quickly. This leads to streaks and spots that require additional cleaning to remove. The best time to clean outside windows is on a cloudy day, or during the cool of the evening while it is still bright outside.

#5 Wipe Windows to Avoid Buildup

If you’re wondering how often to clean outside windows, the experts at MaidForYou suggest a thorough cleaning every 3 months. Of course, in between washing your exterior windows, you should dust the outside panes to prevent stubborn buildup and stains. This will help keep the glass clean for longer durations while making it easier and less tiring to deep clean your outside windows every few months.


All it takes is the right cleaning approach to get your outside windows gleaming again! Regardless of the challenges involved, there is always a way to safely and effectively clean exterior windows as shared above in both the cleaning guide, and tips to clean outside windows using basic cleaning tools and products. If you can't find the time to do it yourself, consider hiring our professional window cleaning services to shine your exterior windows. 

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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